Updated February 2021

AFS was founded in 1947 out of a response to a global crisis by World War I and II American Field Service Ambulance Drivers. Responding quickly and with care in times of great need is in our DNA. AFSers are made for times like these.

No time in our history has tested us more—we repatriated nearly 2,000 students and, as a result of the pandemic, have faced unprecedented financial challenges. In true AFS spirit, volunteers, staff, supporters, and friends continue to respond to the crisis by doing everything we can to move our mission forward.

As we navigate this pandemic, we are rebuilding and refocusing RIGHT NOW—not waiting until we can host and send students again.

In 2020, despite all, we were able to welcome 43 international students and send 45 Americans abroad on year programs—a remarkable feat and testament to the desire of high school students in the US and abroad to have these critical experiences.

Also in 2020, we launched innovative, virtual programs, some in partnership with the US Department of State sponsored programs. Quickly, it became clear that even during the pandemic, our innovation could—and would—impact thousands of lives in US communities—students, entire families, educators, volunteers, and others.

Like you, we look towards a brighter, post COVID-19 future and we have a new strategic plan in place. We will continue to innovate virtual learning opportunities, improve our technology, work with US educators and students, engage our volunteers in new and needed ways, and to become a more diverse and inclusive organization, as we work towards improving our financial health.

As global citizens, we must continue to ‘walk together and talk together,’ and inspire more people to join us in creating a more just and peaceful world—like those featured in stories here. We appreciate the ways you have reached out to us, and how you have supported us in 2020. As we begin a new year, we will continue to innovate as we rebuild and hope we can continue to count on your support. We look forward, as always, to having you share your stories with us!

Thank you from the volunteers, students, families, and staff at AFS-USA. We wish you well in the days ahead, as together we look towards a better world for us all in 2021.


Here you will find trusted sources of recommended precautions and actions, as well as advice on coping with stress.